Highlights From The Cape Town PlayStation 3 Launch Event
The event showcased various capabilities of the PlayStation 3 as well as three of the five games that Ster-Kinekor Games is responsible for releasing at the launch: Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm, and Genji: Days Of The Blade (although for some reason it was running in French: fascinating, but not particularly helpful). All of the consoles were connected to Sony BRAVIA flat-panel LCD TVs to demonstrate the HDTV capabilities of primarily - the consoles - but also the games and the TVs.
Above: Genji: Days Of The Blade.
One of the consoles was hooked up to the Internet, so you could browse online, but you had to do so with a PlayStation 3 controller rather than via a Bluetooth keyboard, and the process is rather tedious. To type in addresses you get an onscreen keypad that's similar to a cellular phone keypad, and pretty frustrating to use, and to move around on a page and access links you have to do the controller equivalent of tabbed browsing.
Throughout the evening a photographer took photos and then occasionally uploaded them to two of the consoles so that you could see the system software's photo-viewing feature in action - it does a kind of scrolling photo diary flyby showcase with the photo time on the screen in such a way that it looks like a handwritten annotation.
Above: Resistance: Fall of Man, in two-player mode.
Speaking of which, the system software is a more feature-rich version of what debuted with the PlayStation Portable. The intention is for the console to form part of your high-end home-entertainment system, but with the same interface. It supports music (MP3, CD, and a few other formats) playback, playback of various video formats, and DVDs (including Blu-ray discs). The console, itself, also has a built-in card reader, which supports the most popular formats such as CompactFlash, Memory Stick, and SD card, as well as USB ports so that you can plug in any USB device or USB flash drive and transfer files.
One of the BRAVIA TVs was hooked up to a console that was being used as a DVD player, and the Blu-Ray high-definition showreel ran, some of which I have seen before, and then later the Blu-Ray Casino Royale disc was showcased.
Above: Blu-ray showcase.
Visually the best part of the showcase was watching the guests playing MotorStorm on what may have been the biggest flatscreen TV I have ever seen. It was absolutely mesmerising and I would hate to know how much it costs. While watching the gameplay I was expecting to see some artifacts or problematic graphics rendering and didn't. In fact, although the game has a slight arcade feel to it, the mud-track effects, especially close up, were spectacular and very realistic.
The question everyone wants answered, of course, is how much. The launch price is R6 299, which, for now, puts the device out of reach of most consumers, but if you already have the kind of home-entertainment setup for which this console is aimed you're probably not going to be phased by the hefty price tag. On the plus side, if you've been looking for a Blu-ray player the console is apparently a lot cheaper than most that are currently on the market, and comes with many more features.
I attended the PlayStation 3 press preview event a few weeks ago, which gave me one-on-one time with a Sony representative and a PlayStation 3 console. If you're interested in reading more about my perceptions of it we should have a Sony Expo 2006/PlayStation 3 two-part article posted on brainwavez.org soon.
Celebrity Showcase, For Those Interested
Above: Jeannie D, who hosted the event.
Above: Quentin Chong, who can usually be found where ever there are Top Billing people....